Restaurant Reviews

Chicken Scratch in Oak Cliff


Chicken Scratch at dusk

It’s 6.30pm on a Saturday night when we spontaneously decided to head down to Chicken Scratch in Oak Cliff. We called to ask if we needed to book a table but the voice on the phone said almost prophetically, “There’s no reservations but there’s tables right now but who knows… there might be a line out the door in 15 minutes time”.

The concept of Chicken Scratch is a dream for modern urban families searching for a wholesome experience that’s close by. Located just minutes from downtown, you park in a shed and go through a gate and enter into what seems like a giant neighborhood play date. Tables and chairs let parents sit around the perimeter of a huge open outdoor space where kids play freely with hopscotch, bean toss and sidewalk chalk. There wasn’t a line when we arrived but within a few minutes, a big crowd came and the lines were out the door till the time we left.

Chicken Scratch, shares the space with The Foundry, a casual beer garden where they serve craft beers and adult beverages. You can sit anywhere and order from either place. A stage built by Gary Buckner, who also did the gorgeous woodwork for Oddfellows sits on one end.

While the ambiance and decor is a stand out, the food unfortunately was just not up to scratch. One would expect more from the folks who brought us Bolsa and Smoke. The skillet fried chicken though succulent under the crisp shell, lack in flavor. The same could be said for the rotisserie chicken. Beefcake commented that Cowboy Chicken had a more flavorful rendition. The fries were soft and the tofu salad with a few lettuce leaves and tofu pieces were meagre in portion.

The best thing we had on the menu were the homemade watermelon pops, made of just fruit and sugar. Still despite the lacklustre food, we’d still come back and hopefully by the next time they’ve stepped it up. As a parent I appreciate that Chicken Scratch cooks with good, wholesome fresh ingredients and the play space is still a big draw especially if I’m organising a group of moms and kids for a playdate.

Click here for more info on Chicken Scratch.

Till our next Happy Meal!


  • Food: Hormone free chickens, fresh vegetables and ingredients
  • Ambiance: Open spaces, great play area and a stage. Typical hipster Oak Cliff style for families
  • Service: Counter service
  • Kid Friendliness: :) :) :) :) :)
  • Itty Bitty Foodies Tip: Great for play dates
  • Parent Foodies Tip: Chicken Scratch shares the space with The Foundry a beer garden and bar which opens from 4pm daily.

Chicken Scratch on Urbanspoon

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Cheryl Collett, Itty Bitty Foodies - Yummy Adventures with Kids!

Cheryl Collett, Itty Bitty Foodies - Yummy Adventures with Kids!

Hailing from Australia, Cheryl Collett is a global gypsy who have lived in over 13 cities. She now resides in the US with her husband and 3 rambunctious boys. She is a freelance lifestyle writer, recipe tester and food taster on Food Network. Itty Bitty Foodies lets her blog about her passions: family, food & travel.


  1. April 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm — Reply

    That looks great! I’ve driven by the place on the way to the Belmont or Bishop Arts and wanted to stop. Now I know I’ll make a trip.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Molly Bewley
    April 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm — Reply

    Awesome post as always Cheryl! I can’t wait to go – Dallas has so few places like this, the ambience and kid-friendly environment alone is enough to draw me in.

  3. Cliffer
    April 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm — Reply

    If you are not a kid person, do not go. The kids run amok and make the experience less than enjoyable. I went a few weeks back and the only parking option was valet (really) and it is not the best neighborhood (and I am a 25 year Cliff resident) to park in some of the more remote parking lots and there is no signage where to park. I had to drive by the valet 3 times to ask where we could park since tow trucks were lining up to tow. After the third try, 2 carloads of people walked back to their cars and advised my party not go in there, kids everywhere. Should be Chuckee Chicken and do you really only have valet like Gloria’s in Bishop Arts for parking. There are only a few car slots in the barn. If only Jacks was back.

    • Nancy
      May 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm — Reply

      Dear Cliffer,

      While we appreciate your opinion and know you are entitled to it, we would greatly appreciate if you would be more accurate in your claims. To my knowledge, valet parking is an optional and complimentary (free) service provided on the weekends and since our inception, we have not had anyone towed for any reason. Also, we pride ourselves on being a family-friendly establishment since there are limited family-friendly establishments in the Oak Cliff/Bishop Arts area. Thank you for your comments and we hope to have you back soon.
      -CS & TF

  4. Cliffer – lol… I’ll give you a tip, most kids go to bed by 8pm ish. So if you go after that time, I bet you’d have a more enjoyable time and won’t have to muscle the pygmy parade for the hopscotch! *wink* Thanks for reading my kiddie blog!

  5. Nancy we need more family friendly restaurants in Dallas in general that serve wholesome fresh food. Kudos to you guys!

    • June 3, 2012 at 11:10 am — Reply

      We’re happy to be here and happier to have you :)

  6. Rudy
    June 25, 2012 at 11:47 am — Reply

    I took my family here last Saturday night. While the food was just OK, the manager was very bad. We ordered a bunch of food and had asked the order-taker to repeat our order, which he did correctly. So we paid our $60 bill and sat down. When we got our food we noticed one of the 6-piece fingers was missing. I am certain the order-taker repeated “2 6-piece fingers” back to me. Anyway, I looked at the receipt and noticed I was only charged for 1 6-piece when we ordered 2. I took the receipt to the manager and said one of our 6-piece fingers were missed in the receipt and sale, so I’d like to pay for another 6-piece. To my complete shock, she looked at me, pointed at the LONG line and said, “nothing I can do for you, we are slammed.”

    I’m not the type of guy who makes a scene but I wanted to give her a lesson in customer service, and that is, “there is always something you can do!” I did tell her that order was messed up from the register and I don’t want to wait in the line, which was now much longer than when we arrived. I told her I would like to pay more cash for one more 6-peice order, right here if possible. Her response was again, “we are slammed, nothing I can do for you.” WOW!!! Ok.. thank you ma’am..

    Advise to customers.. Always have the order-taker repeat your order. Always review your receipt with the order-taker before you leave the counter. Note, the receipts are small font and hard to decipher so please check it CLOSELY. If this delays the customers behind you, SO WHAT! Lastly, if they are “slammed” and your order is missing anything, just forget it.. Because, your response from the female manager will be just as mine was, “Nothing I can do for you, we are slammed.”

    Its a shame, because I’d like to go back to this place.. Not for the food or drink.. Both are overpriced but I understand because they have a huge overhead to support. And you are paying for ambiance of it. The food isn’t that great at all. The fry batter doesn’t stick to the chicken and it has more sweet than savory. The fries tastes like a complete copy of Wingstop fries that are on the sweet, sugary side. Honestly Popeye’s has better food all across their menu. But then again, who wants to make a special event out of going to Popeye’s…

    To be completely honest with you, I don’t want to go back to this place but I’m sure I will at some point. As a loyal North Oak Cliff resident it is my duty to support local businesses. I tell you what though, if this place was open across the river I’d never go back…

Tell us what you think!